Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment
As the fun fearless editor of Cosmopolitan.com, Amy Odell is everything you’d expect and more—she’s vivacious, energetic and absolutely compelling. Since taking the reigns as editor of Cosmpolitan.com in 2013, she’s helped the iconic magazine’s online counterpart expand exponentially from broadening the site’s horizons to include a wealth of new content—including feminist, political and LGBT topics—to growing traffic in double-digit proportions.
Oh, and that’s not all. Ever heard of Forbes‘ prestigious “30 Under 30 List”? Because she’s on it. And if that weren’t enough to impress you, she’s also the founding blogger of New York mag’s The Cut.
But enough from us—read on to hear from Amy herself, and check out her new book, Tales From the Back Row, out this week!
What was your first job?
I was a hostess at a Tex-Mex chain in the suburb I grew up in in Austin, Texas. I think I actually spent more time doing my calculus homework on the hostess stand than actually taking people to their tables, but I can’t say that the management seemed to care much!
How did you get started in your career?
I studied journalism at NYU and through that program got an internship at the New York Observer. When I was at the Observer, I started covering events and parties around town, including fashion events. I remember going to a Project Runway casting in Macy’s that hundreds of people showed up to with work samples that were basically seashell art.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m., go for a run or go to the gym, then read the news, answer emails and check our stats from the previous day from home. Once I get to the office its constant meetings, checking Twitter and Facebook for news, and sending my team story ideas. I take a break in the evening to spend time with my husband and then finish up emails and edits from home before crashing and doing it all over again. Lately I’ve also been working closely with my publisher, Simon & Schuster, on the release of my first book, Tales From the Back Row (out Sept. 1!).
Tell us about your office décor.
When did you last give your office a makeover? We moved into our office just a year ago, and we’re actually still finding ways to perfect the space! The skyline art in our conference room is the latest decor addition.
What’s the best part about your job?
My team. They’re the funniest, most fun, smartest, sassiest, absolute best group of women and men I know, and I love that I get to spend so much time with them. Work doesn’t feel like work when the people you work with are that amazing. I feel honored every day that they want to work at Cosmopolitan.com with me.
What was your first day at Cosmopolitan.com like?
It was actually fairly relaxed because we hadn’t gotten started yet! I remember my boss, Troy Young, giving me a hug and then going upstairs to see Joanna Coles and she gave me a hug, too. We were excited to start the project of relaunching the site so there were a lot of good vibrations.
What’s your favorite office memory?
There are so many good ones that it’s hard to pick just one but I do remember one day that we did a shoot with male models. Our style editor, Charles Manning, was fitting them in a conference room with glass walls. Even though there was an area for them to change behind, because they’re models and, I guess, used to changing in front of people, they didn’t seem to care and just changed in front of the glass wall where everyone could see them. We shared a floor with Food Network Magazine at the time. So I hope that little exhibition was a treat all around.
What’s the one item in your closet that you could never go without?
What’s you ideal day-to-night outfit?
And how would you describe your personal style? A dress under a blazer you can ditch for nighttime. Or maybe a jean you can add a fun heel to for night. I would describe my personal style as simple and not over the top. I love a defined waist, a pencil skirt, and graphic black and white prints. I tend to shy away from things that are immediately identifiable or have huge logos on them.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? “If you’re afraid all the time, that probably means you’re doing your job.” Because people who change the world don’t sit back and make everyone comfortable.
Who are some of your career heroes?
Beyoncé, Joanna Coles, Adam Moss, David Remnick, Stephen Colbert, Chelsea Handler, David Sedaris, Maureen Dowd, Candace Bushnell, Jill Soloway, Grace Helbig, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan of Go Fug Yourself, Lauren Weisberger… and I could go on!
What’s the most daring career risk you’ve ever taken at work?
Going to BuzzFeed several years ago. It was very much in start-up mode when I went there.
Finish the sentences below:
Today for lunch I had… Chipotle.
The first website I log onto every day is… Cosmopolitan.com.
My usual Starbucks order is… skim cappuccino.
If I wasn’t doing this job, I would… be a marine biologist.
My favorite place to visit is… my mom’s house.
My favorite accessory is… my wedding ring.
The item that’s always in my makeup bag is… Aquaphor.
List five things that are on your desk right now… the latest issue of Cosmo, Vanity Fair with Channing Tatum on the cover, hardcover copies of my book, Tales From the Back Row, a sparkly Swarovski pen and a leather panda figurine.
The book I’m reading right now is… The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by my brilliant friend Anna North.
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